Gene Simmons, Sharon Osbourne, Stephen Fry oppose Eurovision boycott

BDS efforts turn 'a tool of unity into a weapon of division,' write more than 100 entertainment figures who signed letter.

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May 1, 2019 03:41
2 minute read.
Gene Simmons, Sharon Osbourne, Stephen Fry oppose Eurovision boycott

Cast member Stephen Fry attends the premiere of the film "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" in Los Angeles December 2, 2013.. (photo credit: PHIL MCCARTEN/REUTERS)

A host of Hollywood celebrities have signed a letter speaking out against an attempted boycott of the 2019 Eurovision in Tel Aviv.
 
The letter, released Tuesday by the nonprofit Creative Community for Peace (CCFP), is signed by more than 100 artists and entertainment figures, including KISS singer Gene Simmons, actor and comedian Stephen Fry, media personality Sharon Osbourne and British TV host Rachel Riley. The signatories also include a wide range of media executives, including Scooter Braun, manager of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande; Rick Rosen of William Morris Entertainment; Haim Saban; and Gary Barber, former chairman of MGM.
 
“We believe that unifying events, such as singing competitions, are crucial to help bridge our cultural divides and bring people of all backgrounds together through their shared love of music,” the letter reads. “Unfortunately, this year, the spirit of togetherness is under attack by those calling to boycott Eurovision 2019 because it is being held in Israel, subverting the spirit of the contest and turning it from a tool of unity into a weapon of division.”
 
The signatories said that the boycott movement is “an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to advance peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition.”
 
The letter comes two weeks before the Eurovision is set to kick off in Tel Aviv, and after months of unsuccessful boycott efforts by Roger Waters and other media figures.
 
In an open letter in The Guardian in September, Waters led a list of artists – including director Ken Loach, musician Brian Eno and actress Alia Shawkat – in calling to boycott the competition because it was being held in the Jewish state. But not a single country pulled out of the competition for political reasons, and 41 nations are slated to take part in this month’s event.
 
In January, Waters called on the BBC specifically to boycott the show, prompting the broadcaster to say it had no intention of doing so. The former Pink Floyd frontman called out Portuguese competitor Conan Osiris in March, who ignored Waters and will be taking part in the competition. And earlier last month Waters slammed Madonna for appearing at the show – to no effect whatsoever.
 
“This year, approximately 200 million people will watch, visit and take part in the Eurovision song contest, celebrating music and the diversity of our different cultures,” said Ari Ingel, director of CCFP. “The members of the entertainment industry who have signed this statement, along with the thousands of individuals who have endorsed its message, all believe in building bridges through music and the arts as a means to achieving greater understanding and peace in the region.”


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